Staunton, December 5 – Vladimir Putin very much wants to have talks with incoming US President Donald Trump, something the Kremlin leader sees as ending his international isolation and confirming his status as the leader of a super power, but he doesn’t have an interest in reaching an agreement with him, according to Vladislav Inozemtsev.
The Moscow economists tells Kyiv’s “Delovaya stolitsa” that “like any [incoming] American president, Trump will at first show that he has a positive attitude toward Russia and there will be an attempt at a new reset and the establishment of a new consensus” (dsnews.ua/economics/vladislav-inozemtsev-tramp-normalnyy-chelovek-on-ne-30112016220000).
“But I have the sense,” Inozemtsev says, “that Putin does not have any particular desire to agree about something. There is the decorative position that renewal of dialogue is necessary but this is because for Putin dialogue is more important than the result: the very fact of a conversation is more significant than specific agreements.”
Putin needs “only to create the impression” that he wants to talk. A dialogue may begin and there may be six months of “a honeymoon,” the commentator says. “But then Trump will understand that he is being ‘played with’ or denigrated. [And] at that point will began a much harsher conversation than the one with Barack Obama.”
“If Angela Merkel says that Putin constantly deceives her and thus she wants to reduce to the maximum possible minimum of meetings with him,” Inozemtsev argues, “then Trump will react in a corresponding way. Over the course of his business career, Trump was able to tell when he was being ‘played’” and quickly stopped having anything to do with them.
Three other commentaries on Putin’s foreign policy agenda also shed light on why the Kremlin leader is unlikely to want any agreement an incoming US president could agree to and why he will prolong talks to boost his status but avoid reaching accords, even “grand bargains” of the kind many talk, lest they tie his hands abroad or undermine his standing at home.
In a commentary in today’s “Yezhednevny zhurnal,” Moscow security affairs commentator Aleksandr Golts says that the new Russian security doctrine doesn’t say what Moscow will do but only what it wants the rest of the world to know about Russian thinking (ej.ru/?a=note&id=30476).
As such, it has less value than many think and those who try to figure out what it means are like paleontologists who must reconstruct an entire dinosaur on the basis of a single bone. But in the nature of things, he continues, the authors can’t hide everything they plan and so one can see what they like and dislike.
On the one hand, they entirely hypocritically complain about the increased role of force in international relations, urging all states to agree to a kind of Holy Alliance based on religious principles like the one that existed in Europe in post-Napoleonic Europe. And on the other, they reject the use of “soft force.”
“With the election of Donald Trump as president of the US,” Golts argues, “the Kremlin to its misfortune has obtained ‘a counter-partner,’ who is attached to approximately the very same primitive views on international politics and who it follows will not be slow to use all the military, political and economic might of the United States for the achievement of what he considers to be American interests.”
The new foreign policy doctrine, he concludes, “leaves Russia with ‘the right to react harshly to unfriendly actions including by means of strengthening its national defense and adopting mirror-image or asymmetrical means.’” In short, the document suggests that Putin and Trump are far more likely to find themselves at loggerheads than in agreement.
Ukrainian analyst Viktor Kaspruk says there are good reasons why that is so as far as Putin is concerned. Not all Russians certainly want war, but those who do “need an enemy: they simply need to hate someone because hatred is the only thing that in Russia, in the absence of advanced science, contemporary technology, contemporary cultural achievement, and other essential factors can unite and feel itself a synchronous all-national unity” (ru.krymr.com/a/28156783.html